Words of wisdom, useful resources
Articles full of wisdom*
"Your Premise Determines Your Characters," by C.S. Lakin, on her site Live, Write, Thrive, September 14, 2020. Having a clear idea of what your protagonist has to tackle.
"How to Write a Liar Telling a Lie: Body Language 101 for Writers," by Fiona Quinn on her website Thrill Writing, via Twitter, August 7, 2020. Some great things to consider so readers see your liar!
"Scholars Talk Writing: Hyphens, Oxford Commas, and Pronoun Preferences," by Rachel Toor, The Chronicle of Higher Education, December 5, 2018. Great interview with the Comma Queen, Mary Norris, about editing and being edited.
Arika Okrent created this funny, informative video about the dangers of leaving out commas.
"How Grammar-Savvy Are You? Take This Quiz to Find Out," by Ashley Brooks, The Write Life, November 28, 2017. Clear explanations of common foibles we all have.
"What Psychology Says About the First Page of Your Novel," by Tamar Sloan, The Write Life, August 27, 2017. Pulling people into your book on page one.
"A Basic Guide to Getting Permissions + Sample Permission Letter," by Jane Friedman on her site, July 10, 2017. Flowchart outlining use of copyrighted material.
"How Freelance Editors Fit into Today's Publishing Landscape," by Meg LaTorre-Snyder, Writers Digest, July 6, 2017. Benefits of working with an editor; how to choose when to work with an editor.
"Editorially Speaking: How to Find a Book Editor You Can Trust," by Blake Atwood, The Write Life, January 24, 2017. Please add to your list for finding editors: Professional Editors Network.
"Please Learn the Rules," by Beth Hill, The Editor's Blog, December 19, 2016. Good overview of punctuation and sentence structure.
"Avoid Common Pitfalls," Purdue Online Writing Lab; this site has great discussions and examples, including this page on avoiding overuse of expletive sentences (beginning with "There are," for example) and opting for direct expressions.
"The editing and revision process for self-publishers," by Lisa Poisso, August 5, 2016; stupendous flowchart showing all the twists and turns your revision process can take.
"Regretfully Yours: 28 Writers on Their Biggest Mistakes," The Booklist Reader from the folks at the American Library Association’s Booklist Publications, June 3, 2016; assess these authors' regrets, so you don't rue the day. . . .
"How to Use Twitter to Find and Engage Book Reviewers," by Ricardo Fayet, Live Write Thrive, August 24, 2015; build your platform, find your people.
"Building Blocks: Avoiding Weak Sentence Construction," by C.S. Lakin, Live Write Thrive, March 4, 2015; fine examples of what to avoid and how to fix these verb conundrums. Be active. At least most of the time!
"Story Evoking Story: Jonathan Odell on His Journey from Racism to Empathy," bookreporter, March 3, 2015.
"Novels aren’t movies – how to write great description in prose," by Roz Morris, Nail Your Novel, October 12, 2014; put what's in your head into the reader's imagination.
"The Editorial Burden That Weighs on the Author," by C.S. Lakin, Live Write Thrive, July 28, 2014; importance of education and professional second pair of eyes; comments at end of post are illuminating too.
"Write Your First Novel: 8 Strategies for Creating Great Fiction," by W. B. Sullivan, on The Write Life, June 11, 2014; food for thought about outlines, scene beats, conflict, etc.
"Point of View: How Writers Can Master This Crucial Story Element," by Amanda Warner, on The Write Life, May 5, 2014.
"21 Things I Wish I'd Known Before I Started Writing: Must-Read Advice for Writers at All Levels," by Robin Black, The Review Review; developing thick and thin skin, writing pages you love and hate.
"Theme—What’s at the Heart of Your Story," by C.S. Lakin, Live Write Thrive, April 30, 2014; identifying what your novel is really about; great marketing exercise.
"3 Ways Great Nonfiction Can Be the Fiction Writer’s Greatest Resource," by Daryl Rothman, Live Write Thrive, April 14, 2014; good discussion for all writers.
"What Editors Want; A Must-Read for Writers Submitting to Literary Magazines," by Lynne Barrett, The Review Review; stupendous insider's view of what goes on with your submission and advice on rejection and acceptance.
"Serious reading takes a hit from online scanning and skimming, researchers say," by Michael S. Rosenwald,
Washington Post, April 6, 2014; our brains treat on- and offline reading differently.
"Knowing What to Cut in Your Manuscript," by Marcia Wells, Janice Hardy's Fiction University, April 1, 2014.
"Five Things I Learned Writing The Burning Dark," by Adam Christopher, terribleminds, March 27, 2014; about adding flavor, trusting your editor, being creeped out by your story.
Reading a good book is good for you! "Brain function 'boosted for days after reading a novel,'" by Tomas Jivanda, the Independent, December 26, 2013.
"Advice for Authors," by Seth Godin, Typepad; food for thought on writing, marketing, expectations.
"The Four Fears that Stop You from Writing," by Andrea Phillips, terribleminds, August 28, 2013; some methods to face the fears. (Couple bad words in here. Be warned.)
"25 Editing Tips for Tightening Your Copy," The Write Life, August 7, 2013.
"12 Famous Writers on Literary Rejection," Aerogramme Writers' Studio, June 15, 2013.
"Editing as a Portable Skill," by John E. McIntyre, The Baltimore Sun, June 8, 2013; explores appreciation for editing skills.
"The Ten Mistakes: Ten Mistakes Writers Don’t See (But Can Easily Fix When They Do)," by Pat Holt, Holt Uncensored.
"Verbs for Carrying Dialogue: 'Said' Versus the Rest," by Marcus Trower, Commas, Characters and Crime Scenes, April 7, 2013.
"Ten Obvious Truths About Fiction," by Stephen Graham Jones, LitReactor, March 23, 2013.
"4 Ways to Find the Right Freelance Editor," by C. S. Lakin on Jane Friedman's site, January 30, 2012.
"10 Ways to Harness Fear and Fuel Your Writing," by Sage Cohen, Writers Digest, January 3, 2012; solid advice.
"Making it Happen: Tips on Writing Action Scenes," by Janice Hardy, Janice Hardy's Fiction University, November 18, 2010. How to create action, stay true to POV, and illustrate stakes—all at once.
Use WordItOut or Wordle as a fun and illustrative method of pointing out repetition.
Purdue OWL, the university's Online Writing Lab, presents discussions and examples of concise writing and good grammar.
Loads o' writing and editing resources for writing more persuasively, listed in one spot: Open Education Database
Grammar assistance from Mignon Fogarty, aka Grammar Girl
Covering publication, craft, all kinds of topics for the successful author and freelancer: The Write Life
C.S. Lakin's blog, Live Write Thrive is full of useful information and articles she's written as a guest blogger.
Jane Friedman's website where she is "helping authors and publishers flourish in the digital age."
Mary Carroll Moore provides weekly writing assignments on her blog, like this one on writing dialogue.
And all the blogs, etc. housing the articles above. People are so smart.
Some wise and witty people on Twitter
The road to hell is paved with adverbs.
Somethin' for nothin'
My gut wrenches every time I see people referred to as “others” or “those.” People aren’t objects. People aren’t test subjects. People shouldn’t be “othered” by using the word “other.”
I get it. Reporting on surveys, say, and using “those who experienced X” may be convenient, tidy shorthand for the people who were surveyed.
But we need to think about the inherent distancing — how, even subconsciously, readers are absorbing the 10-foot pole placed between writer and subject.
We have a rich array of alternatives. Depending on voice and audience, you can replace “those” and “others” with:
You get the idea. Let’s work on being welcoming and inclusive and ensuring our word choices are part of a community of soul-centered sentences.
Fun quote for you: “A metaphor is a kind o' lie to help people understand what's true.” ~Terry Pratchett, Wintersmith
Dictionary of choice
Merriam-Webster rules among writers. Plus, if you need a break, the site has great word games.
Craft your craft
* Links to articles used with permission and/or in accordance with terms and policies of publishers. Thanks to one and all for sharing your wisdom!